Precipitation changes in a warmer world for major grain growing regions
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Precipitation changes in a warmer world for major grain growing regions. Presented at the AAAS 2014 Annual Meeting. Thomas R. Karl, L.H.D. Director , NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center Chair, U.S. Subcommittee on Global Change Research February 16, 2014. Introduction.

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Precipitation changes in a warmer world for major grain growing regions

Precipitation changes in a warmer world for major grain growing regions

Presented at the AAAS 2014 Annual Meeting

Thomas R. Karl, L.H.D.

Director , NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center

Chair, U.S. Subcommittee on Global Change Research

February 16, 2014


Introduction

Introduction

  • Major grain growing regions

  • Climate variables affecting agriculture

    • Drought & heat

      • Growing season

    • Mean precipitation

      • Soil moisture

    • Extreme precipitation

      • Erosion


Extent of cropland

Extent of cropland

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, 2006


Drought heat and growing season

Drought, heat, and growing season


Climate variables affecting agriculture

Climate Variables Affecting Agriculture

  • Change by 2100 under the A2 (higher emissions) scenario.

  • Hot nights = minimum temp warmer than 90% of minimums between 1971-1990

National Climate Assessment, Draft for public comment 2013


U s heat and drought of 2012

U.S. Heat and Drought of 2012

Illinois

From MODIS data.

Courtesy of I. Becker-Reshef, E. Vermote, M. Claverieand C. Justice, University of Maryland.

Karl et al, Eos, 2012


Mean precipitation changes and soil moisture

Mean Precipitation Changesand Soil Moisture


Observed water cycle change

Observed Water Cycle Change

  • Saturation vapor pressure of air increases with temperature

  • Observed global change in water vapor of about 3.5% in the past 40 years is consistent with the observed temperature change of about 0.5C during the same period

  • Water vapor change attributed to human influence with medium confidence

IPCC WGI Fifth Assessment Report, 2013


Projected water cycle change

Projected Water Cycle Change

  • 2081–2100 relative to 1986–2005 under the RCP8.5 scenario

  • Global-scale precipitation expected to increase gradually (~2% per Kelvin)

    • Water vapor increase ~7% per Kelvin

  • High latitudes likely to experience greater precipitation due to additional water carrying capacity of warmer atmosphere

    • Many mid-latitude and semi-arid regions likely experience less

IPCC WGI Fifth Assessment Report, 2013


Projected precipitation change by season

Projected Precipitation Change By Season

  • Projected percent change in seasonal precipitation for 2070-2099 (compared to the period 1901-1960) under higher emissions (A2) scenario

National Climate Assessment, Draft for public comment 2013


Extreme precipitation and erosion

Extreme precipitation and erosion


Extreme precipitation and erosion1

Extreme precipitation and erosion

Soil and Water Conservation Society, 2003


Ipcc 2013 heavy precipitation events

IPCC 2013Heavy Precipitation Events

IPCC WGI Fifth Assessment Report, 2013


Observed global trends in heavy precipitation

Observed Global Trends in Heavy Precipitation

Annual Amount of Precipitation from Days >95th Percentile 1951-2010

Daily Precipitation Intensity 1951-2010

IPCC WGI Fifth Assessment Report, 2013


Observed u s trends in heavy precipitation events

Observed U.S. Trends in Heavy Precipitation “Events”

  • Once-in-five-year 2-day total

  • Changes are compared to the period 1901-1960 and do not include Alaska or Hawaii.

  • The 2000s decade (far right bar) includes 2001-2011

National Climate Assessment, Draft for public comment 2013


Observed u s trends in very heavy daily precipitation events heaviest 1

Observed U.S. Trends in Very Heavy Daily Precipitation Events (Heaviest 1%)

1958-2011

National Climate Assessment, Draft for public comment 2013


Precipitation changes in a warmer world for major grain growing regions

Observed Precipitable Water Difference1990-2009 minus 1971-1989 for daily, 1-in-5-year extreme events

NOAA/NCDC


Observed heavy downpours in iowa

Observed Heavy downpours in Iowa

  • Days with more than 1.25 inches of rain.

  • Top corn and soybean producing state. Downpours can

  • Delay planting

  • Reduce crop productivity

  • Cause erosion and loss of soil nutrients

  • How much rain is too much?

National Climate Assessment, Draft for public comment 2013


Observed consecutive dry days

Observed Consecutive Dry Days

  • Frequency of the annual maximum number of consecutive dry days

  • Black plus signs (+) indicate grid boxes where trends are significant

IPCC WGI Fifth Assessment Report, 2013


Future return period for present day wettest day in 20 years

Future Return Period for Present Day Wettest Day in 20 years

  • 2081-2100 compared to 1986-2005

  • RCP8.5

IPCC WGI Fifth Assessment Report, 2013


Projected future trends in extreme precipitation

Projected Future Trends in Extreme Precipitation

Potential Maximum

Precipitation

  • Potential Maximum Precipitation likely to increase with increases in atmospheric water vapor due to warming oceans and increased evaporation

Change in Precipitation Intensity

Adjusted for future water vapor trends

Adjusted for recent water vapor trends

Currently used in PMP

NOAA/NCDC

NOAA/NCDC


Summary

Summary

  • Changes in drought and heat, with attendant feedbacks, are likely to affect growing conditions

  • Major grain growing regions expected to experience shifts in mean precipitation patterns and soil moisture

  • Extreme precipitation has been observed to be increasing, and is expected to increase further in intensity and frequency

    • Expected impacts on erosion and runoff


Questions

Questions?


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